April 22, 2019

Last week, we were extremely fortunate to welcome Mr. Ron Giesler back to St. James R-I Schools. I had the opportunity to spend a few moments visiting with Ron and was able to learn much about what he has been doing over the past few years. The 1985 graduate of John F. Hodge High School has been traveling to Montana since 2002, first with the Science Center and now with his own company, Adventure 360. His company has been instrumental in organizing the Paleo Program which helps take adventurous people and students to the Badlands of Montana. Over the years, Ron has enjoyed creating unique experiences for people on these trips. He especially enjoys watching the excitement of young people as they identify their first fossil or have the opportunity to speak to a real paleontologist, who is able to answer many of their questions. Ron told stories of cruising the canyons and coulees looking for the next “big find”. He explained a find may be around the next bend or just over the hill, but if you are persistent enough, you will eventually find something worthwhile. Ron is currently teaching close to St. Louis, but enjoys taking groups during the summer and bringing their finds to local schools.

John F. Hodge High School was lucky enough to have three of our students attend Field School this past July and to be a part of a great discovery in finding a Triceratops Scapula (shoulder bone) measuring approximately 3.5 feet in length. Mrs. A.J. Prawitz and her thrilled students were able to temporarily bring the bone to the high school until Ron returns to Montana at the beginning of June. The bone is currently on display in a case in the high school principal’s office. The case was made by Mr. Ben Smith’s shop students. Our students who went on last summer’s trip thoroughly enjoyed being able to share their knowledge with elementary students who came over to view the bone last Friday. It was so exciting to watch our elementary students view the bone and many of the other displays brought in by the Adventure 360 group. We were so grateful to Mr. Ron Giesler and his Adventure 360 team for taking a day out of their busy schedules to provide an exceptional learning event for students of all ages at St. James R-I Schools. And to anyone reading this article…if you get a few moments before June, I encourage you to stop by the high school office to view our students’ fascinating find. You will be amazed!!!